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The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer

News/Business. Wolf Blitzer. Traditional reporting and online resources update international news. New.

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02:00:00

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Libya 72, Gadhafi 51, U.s. 46, Us 31, Moammar Gadhafi 15, United States 11, Tripoli 10, U.n. 9, America 9, Taylor 5, Cnn 5, Benadryl 4, Pentagon 4, El Salvador 4, Cairo 4, Egypt 4, Jeanne Moos 4, Tokyo 4, Yemen 4, Japan 4,
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  CNN    The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer    News/Business. Wolf Blitzer. Traditional reporting  
   and online resources update international news. New.  

    March 22, 2011
    5:00 - 7:00pm EDT  

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cnn.com/brooke. and just a sidebar on the report joe just mentioned on president obama's ties to the nuclear industry, take a look at this brand new cnn opinion research poll. 53% of americans opposed to building more nuclear power plants in the u.s. that is up from last year. and now, it is just about that time to head it to the man, the birthday man today, wolf blitzer in "the situation room." wolf, to you. thanks very much, brooke. happening now, two u.s. air force crew members make it out of a fighter jet crash in libya alive. we are taking you to the crash site and telling you how libyan rebels help keep one of them safe. also, president obama is facing growing anger for ordering air strikes in libya without the approval of congress. now, one fellow democrat, even talking about possible impeachment. and new u.s. assessments of the radiation risks from japan's nuclear crisis and new progress inside the plant to shed light on the damage from the sudan.
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i'm wolf blitzer. you are in "the situation room." some very anxious hours for the u.s. military after the crash of a fighter jet, giving way to relief now that the two crew members are safely out of libya. defense officials confirming that both the pilot and the weapons officer have been rescued. they say the f-15 eagle had an equipment malfunction and did not go down because of enemy fire. let's talk more about the crash and its rescue, how it played out minute by minute, we will go to our pentagon correspondent, chris lawrence. chris, you have been able to see the military's timeline. what happened? >> exactly, wolf. we have a close look at it, it really proves that no fly does not mean no risk. i mean this could have been disastrous, if these pilots had gone down in an area controlled by moammar gadhafi. two u.s. fighter jets take off from italy on a strike run to destroy moammar gadhafi's air
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defense. as they fly over eastern libya, one of the f-15s malfunctions. >> and once you can no longer fly that jet and you have made every effort and tried every procedure in your book, then it's time to jump out. >> reporter: the two-man air force crew eject and the plane crashes. their parachutes open but they land in different areas. and once you hit the ground, your procedures, first of all, make sure that you are okay or your -- if you're in a two-seat cockpit, look for your crew member. >> reporter: out in the mediterranean sea, the 26 marine expeditionary unit mobilizes on board the "uss kearsarge." and thousands of miles away, admiral mike mullin calls the national security adviser and the president in chile gets word of the crash. >> part of your survival gear on board includes a radio. so, you have the communications available to talk to folks and hopefully conduct a rescue.
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>> reporter: marines have scrambled harrier jets and ans sprichl the downed pilot sees local villagers advancing, doesn't know if they are friend or foe and radios for help. the harrier drops two bombs in the space between the villagers and the pilot, a nonlethal way to warn them off. and the pilot is able to get on board the osprey. now, those bombs they dropped may have been met as a nonlethal method but they did spray shrapnel in the air and hearing at least five of those local villagers were injured, not kill bud injured by those bombs. mean time, the pilot's part earthquake in the other crew member, the weapons officer, fell into an area that was controlled by the rebels who are opposing moammar gadhafi. officials say that those rebels took good care and treated the weapons officer with dignity and we are told tonight that that weapons officer is now in europe, back in u.s. hands. wolf? >> is there any preliminary
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guidance on what went wrong with that f-15, why it went down not yet, surprise, because as you know, wolf, any of these planes on a normal basis gets a thorough run-through, but planes that have known, known to be going into a combat mission over hostile territory, even more so, so that is something that the military is going to have to take a long look at. >> chris, thanks very much. let's go to benghazi right now. cnn's arwa damon got a firsthand look at the crash site. she is joining wuss more on what he she saw. you also had a chance to speak with some on six leaders there as well. first of all what did you see when you went to the crash site, arwa? >> reporter: well, wolf, we saw the aftermath of the wreckage at that crash site and we also saw a number of resident he is from the area gathered around it. all of them saying that they were upset he that the plane had crashed but telling us about how the entire area, once they realized what was happening, had had basically fanned out, trying
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to look for the pilot, for the weapons officer. they say that they realized that these were people who were flying afly ing a plane to help them and wanted to return the favor and offer whatever assistance they could. ended up meeting one come who was part of that rescue effort and here's what he had to say. >> found his parachute, someone tell me the parachute was not far from the point which he was there and going directly there and i know he would be not far from that point. so, i am shouting to them, we will help you. we are coming to help you. you are coming to support us, to -- please, if you hearing me, stand up and present yourself for me. then he stand and coming to me. so he have right to afraid. and at first, he was afraid.
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but i am shooking with him and i am kiss him and i tell him you are coming for us. you are our brothers. so, don't be afraid. you will be safe. we will carry you for other place you want. >> reporter: colonel, of course, expressing his gratitude to the young american serviceman, everyone there expressing their gratitude for the fact that they were risking their lives, they say, to help keep the people here safe, wolf. >> you also have some new information about the pilot in this particular incident? what do you know, arwa? >> reporter: as far as we are away, the pilot, after he was taken by the colonel, residents in the area, ended up at one of the air bases here, he was taken to hospital for treatment and then rested up at a hotel until he was flown out of the country.
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we also did have an opportunity just a short while ago to sit down with the opposition chief of staff for the army they have managed to cobble together. he is the man, if you remember, was gadhafi's minister of interior, very close to gadhafi, was part of the initial revolution that brought gadhafi into power. he has since defected. a couple of interesting things he had to same he did tell us that he is, in fact, in direct contact with the coalition, helping to coordinate those air strikes. he also told us that they had been having a significant impact on the momentum that the opposition has, saying that they have now been able to drive gadhafi's forces back to ajdabiya. now they are trying to regroup and put together more of a cohesive military strategy. and he was saying based on his knowledge of cad calf find the fact that they were so close for
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so long, he does, in fact, believe gadhafi when he said he was -- [ inaudible ] [ audio breaking up ] >> arwa, you were breaking up a bit but got the gist of what you had to same we will check back with you. thanks very much, arwa damon on the scene for us in benghazi. cav calf ci gadhafi is fighting to keep his power and wealth and gold. he is sitting on billions, we are told. and donald trump is bragginging he took easy cash from gadhafi. stand by to hear what the billionaire and possible presidential hopeful is saying. the skyrocketing price of war. u.s. air strikes in libya adding millions and millions of dollars
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congress are not happy with president obama over his decision to allow u.s. air strikes in libya. they feel they weren't given any say in the whole matter, pardon me, which they weren't. and the criticism of the president's coming from every where. republican congressman ron paul of texas says not fly zone in libya is unconstitutional. liberal democratic congressman dennis kucinich of ohio brought up the idea of impeachment hearings for president obama's actions. no surprise there but it is not just the far right and the far left that are up in arms here. moderates, like democratic senator and former navy secretary jim webb, republican senator richard lugar, the ranking republican member of the foreign relations committee, they are not happy with the president either. yesterday, president obama sent an official letter to congress asserting his authority to make the decision on libya based on the constitution and war powers resolution. the letter said he was acting in the "national security and foreign policy interests of the
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united states." the president did hold a briefing for congressional party and committee leaders in the white house situation room last friday before any attacks were launched, but many members of congress say that wasn't nearly enough. here's the question. should president obama have consulted with congress before sending the u.s. military against libya? go to cnn.com/caffertyfile to post a comment on my blog. it is getting to be a habit. we attacked iraq, go into afghanistan, none of this stuff was ever -- you know, there was never any declaration of war passed by the congress. >> if you are old enough to remember the korean war, so-called police action, whatever they called it, no declaration of war then either. that was a significant war. was there a declaration of war? >> vietnam? was there? i can't remember. >> i think the last declaration of war, world war ii. >> pearl harbor got bombed. >> i believe that is the case, we have excellent researchers who could double check. >> you get your crack staff right on that will? >> we will do that jack, thanks
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very, very much. let's talk about this major general retired u.s. general spider marx in the situation radio. you were an expert on that any declared wars, formally declared wars since world war ii? >> war powers act vietnam but not a formal declaration of war. >> president does this kind of stuff and then there's a resolution from time to time, there was a resolution passed in both the house and the senate leading up in 2003 to the war in iraq and getting rid of saddam hussein, wasn't a formal declaration of war. >> what you see here is what we know as mission creep. we have now established a political objective and the military objectives right now are not aligned with those political objectives, as stated. so you are going to see a creeping action in terms of getting that closer to what the -- >> there is a military objective that the united nations security council has approved. >> the u.n. >> the arab league has approved
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it, whatever. but there is a separate u.s. policy that the president of the united states has approved which goes way beyond that. the military -- the u.n. has approved a no-fly zone and protecting the civilians in libya. the president of the united states supports that but says there is a separate u.s. policy of getting rid of saddam -- moammar gadhafi. >> exactly correct. we have picked sides in this fight. we are clearly aligned with the opposition forces in libya. we have stated -- the president of the united states has stated that gadhafi has to go and so you have to work your way through the end state. what does this thing really look like? a no-fly zone is not the solution. clearly, there is going to have to be an iner ises of ground forces of some sort because you have to at some point, monitor the separation of opposition forces and gadhafi's forces. >> hold on, we have a lot more to talk b gadhafi may have a means of holding onto power despite the military action being taken against him. the libyan dictator is believed to be sitting on tons, yes, tons of gold, which could help fund
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his fight. mary snow has some details. mary? >> reporter: wolf, you know, libya ranks 24th in the world when it comes to gold serves. you mentioned gold and libya one of the first images may come to mind is the now-famous statue in trip lakers giant golden fist holding an american jet fighter model it turns out libya has much more gold than that and this comes to light as questions emerge about what money moammar gadhafi has to fight his battles since they are there are international sanctions impose old on libya and assets have been frozen. as the financial times first reported, libya's central bank holds close to 144 metric tons of gold that is worth roughly $6.5 billion. even though the gold is held by libya's central bank, economists we spoke with say it is not independent of moammar gadhafi. scott hornet, international commercial attorney, says the gold could prove to be a key asset for gadhafi. >> extremely difficult position
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right now. he may need to bring in foreign troops, mercenaries. he may need to buy fuel, ammunition, jets, all of this has been subject to sanctions by the united nations security council, which is going to make it extremely difficult for him to do those things. >> impose, mary, the no-fly zone, gadhafi, how does he cash in on that as far as the gold is concerned? >> reporter: one analyst we spoke with said with libya's pariah state it would be very difficult and also the question of transporting gold out of the country. some analysts stay would have to be taken out by land because of the no-fly zone imposed. chad, for example is cited as one potential country where it might be swapped for something like weapons. >> all right, mary, thanks very much. mary snow with that part of the story. potential 2012 presidential hopeful says he has personal experience dealing with gadhafi's fortunes.
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the real estate tycoon donald trump says he has done business with the libyan dictator and managed to outsmart him in the process. he talked about it in an interview with c cnnmoney.com correspondent poppy harlow. >> i deal with everybody, i like that. what i did do with gadhafi? i leased him a piece of land for his tent. he paid me more than i get in a whole year. and then, he wasn't able to use the piece of land. so people would say, i did take advantage? did i -- so i got in one night, more money than i would have gotten all year for this piece of land up in westchester and then didn't let him use it. that's called being intelligent. >> do you still have the money that gadhafi paid you? >> you're not talking that kind of money. i do still have are it? >> i mean, what happened to the money? some celebrities performed for gadhafi -- >> oh no. >> you have given it away? what is the question on people's sninchtsd i give tremendous. in fact, the other night, comedy central roasted me, gave me a tremendous amount of money it has already gone to charity.
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i give money to charity. i give that money to charity. in fact, i said when i did it i'm gonna take gadhafi's money, i'm not gonna make it easy on him and i'm gonna give the money to charity and that is exactly what i did. >> thump has been flirting with the idea of a presidential bid in recent months. he says he will make a decision by june. is arab support for the military mission against libya crumbling in. should more countries be helping out? leading an list about to weigh in. and new concerns about the amount of damage done to nuclear reactors after that massive tsunami and earthquake in japan. >> announcer: this past year alone there's been a 67% spike in companies embracing the cloud-- big clouds, small ones, public, private, even hybrid.
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months after breaking henry aaron's records. bonds said he didn't know his trainer was giving him steroids. the jud surprise news about fidel castro. the former cuban president says he hasn't led his country's communist party for five years. castro gave up the title of president to his brother raul after he became ill in 2006. now, it is expected that raul will officially become cuba's communist president next month. that's when cuba will hold its first communist party congress in almost 14 years. a jump in oil price as investors monitor the war in libya, escalating tensions in yemen this comes despite a report claiming oil supplies in the region outside of libya have not yet been disrupted. prices have surged more than 20% since mid-february when libya's pro-democracy of movement took form. high winds are haenk efforts
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to control a 1200-acre wildfire in colorado. 17 homes have now been evacuated and hundred he is more are on stand by for possible evacuation if the conditions worse there worsen. firefighters say the blaze is about 15% contain and, wolf, no injuries are reported at this time. >> lisa, thanks very much. we will stand by. i know there is other stories coming in as well. a top u.s. military commander says gadhafi's air force doesn't have enough strength left to stop coalition air strikes. we are going to see how much damage is being done to libya's military power. and egypt's interior ministry now set on fire. who or what's responsible? [ male announcer ] ten people are going to win the chevrolet, buick, gmc or cadillac of their choice. push your onstar button and you could be one of them. even if you're not an onstar customer. ♪ just push your blue button and tell the advisor you want to enter the onstar ph on sweepstakes. ♪ but do it soon.
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amateur video in the libyan city of misrata. gadhafi's fighters still are attacking civilians, even after four days of multinational air strikes. the coalition is vowing to keep
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using force until gadhafi stops the bloodshed. one apparent target, a port area in eastern tripoli. joining us from trip clirks our correspondent, nick robertson. you went and saw some of the damage at a bomb raid at the port there in tripoli today. what did you see? >> reporter: wolf, we were taken to a naval facility in the port area, right in the heart of tripoli and we were taken into a warehouse and inside that warehouse we saw four mobile missile systems that had been burned out. what was quite incredible, they were underneath a tin roof of this large warehouse facility and one of the rockets landed right at the back, almost sort of touching the back of one of the rocket systems there. four of them were lined up and they were all burned out, but the other side of the facility, there were some -- what looked like more missiles of some description that were being stored at the corn of the facility. officials said this was just a training and repair facility,
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but for us, it appeared to be very much a military type of target, the sort of target would you expect to be taken out when you are sort of trying to reduce the surface-to-air missile threat trying to tone force a no-fly zone. not only that i think has a psychological impact for moammar gadhafi because this strike was right next to a number of naval vessels in the harbor there weren't allowed to film them but next to where we were, wolf. >> any indication of casualties, civilian or military? >> we had various assessments of that one official told us there were no casualties, others told us people had kind somebody else, the person who we thought was perhaps giving us the best, most accurate information, a recently commissioned young naval officer just out of university, he told us that a few people had been injured, he had been on his ship when he was allowed to go ashore, he was
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helping put out the fire there he said just a few people had had light injuries but apparently we were told most people weren't in the harbor area at the time, it was attacked at night, very precise targeting on the missile systems and inside the warehouses themselves, wolf. any other major strikes in the tripoli area today that occurred? >> reporter: nothing we have seen or heard so far, and nothing the government has told us about or taken us to see, wolf. >> the skies over tripoli, they have been illuminated the first few night, you have not seen that at least not yet? >> there was a small burst, a couple of small bursts of anti-aircraft gunfire, but my guess is it was for training or people setting up the equipment because the weapons systems because it wasn't sustained and we didn't really hear any sort of explosions around then. my guess is short bursts.
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>> nick robertson in tripoli for us. a massive blaze at the interior ministry following a demonstration of thousands of workers demanding higher wages. protesters deny setting the fire. government says an electrical malfunction could be to blame. the al qaeda stronghold of yemen, the embattled president, abdullah saleh warns of all-out civil war after his offer to accept step down at the beginning of next jeer rejected. opponents are demand resign immediate squlichl in syria, hundreds of protesters taking to the streets, chanting bring down the regime this is the sixth straight day of demonstrations in syria. organizers are planning mass protests this friday as well. in the midst of the coalition air strikes in libya there is political infighting of here will take charge of the mission. we will talk about the support and the concerns within the arab world. and account u.s. afford military action in libya at a time of budget cuts and belt
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tightening? we are taking a look how much the crackdown on gadhafi costing the united states. [ male announcer ] to the 5:00 a.m. scholar. the two trains and a bus rider. the "i'll sleep when it's done" academic. for 80 years, we've been inspired by you. and we've been honored to walk with you to help you get where you want to be. ♪ because your moment is now. let nothing stand in your way. ♪
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after a few days of silence, moammar gadhafi is now speaking out. he was just on libyan state television and he said this -- >> demonstrations are all over
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the world. against this aggression, unfounded aggression. against the united states shelter. blatant aggression by a group of fascists. there will be sent to the history's dust bin. you, oh you libyan, great libyan people, you are living glorious moments, glorious hours, these are the glorious hours. all wishes are with us. we are living the revolution. we are -- the international world against imperialism, against despots and i tell you, i do not scare -- nothing -- nothing scares me. no -- can scare me. i don't get scared by the
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hurricanes. not even by the -- sending rockets. i am here, resilient. i have the right. i am here. i am here. i am here. >> all right. we heard him, he said he is here, moammar gadhafi, speaking just a little while ago on libyan state television. you saw the crowds there let's discuss with a professor of middle eastern studies at the johns hopkins university school of advanced international studies. you hear gadhafi. he is here. he is railing against the tire rants, the despots and all that. what do you think? >> well, wolf, here is the greatest story, the pronoun i is the most disgusting of pronoun and that's what you hear from gadhafi, i am here, i am here, i am here, the same pronoun. he is the one who said he built libya and would destroy libya and the poor libyan people, captain of this man and his
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megalomania and he now has a crisis beyond what he expected. he thought that he would to go to benghazi, liquidate the free libya and just get on it with it. he now faces a superior force in the coalition raid against him. but it is the same, i, i, the same disgusting pronoun from this man. >> so, when the people in tripoli and elsewhere in libya hear his words, what's the reaction? what would you assume would be the reaction, because he wants to rally them to his support? >> i don't know i can imagine, i once spoke of this fen phone no, ma'am as the stock whom syndrome in libya. he has been their prisoner, their jailer, given his truth, his green book, his you the rances, his insanity and trying to tell them they are not alone in the world, that the world is with them had. what is interesting al jazeera.net had a survey, hard lit most pro-american group, you might american.
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62% of al jazeera's audience and viewer, 62% who came with the survey said they agreed with the campaign against moammar gadhafi. so, i think is it is really gadhafi against a good deal of the world. >> the arab league, they supported a no-fly zone, they passed the resolution unanimously, that, in part, led to the u.n. security council resolution. the u.s. got involved. how significant will arab military support for the no-fly zone, when all is said and done be? >> well, look, the arab league want to be half-pregnant. you can't be half-pregnant. we know that the arab league wanted to give a green light to this operation against gadhafi, was the light between, was it yellow, was it flickering? and i think, in the end, where we are now, it doesn't really matter what the arab league said. the arab league committed itself at the beginning and that really is all what we needed, all what the western powers needed. in fact, i believe and this remains to be proven, that president obama was surprised by
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what the arab league did. he expected the arab league to duck. he expected the arabing three avoid the great moral choice and the arab league in a moment of clarity, unusual for the arab league, basically gave this kind of green light that it gave and we took it as a groan light. we didn't wait to detect the come over that light. >> egypt, it tunisia, libya, yemen, bahrain, we see what's happening throughout north africa and the middle east. >> it is the springtime of people, maybe the springtime will not end well, but did the springtime of people. we talked about this on your broadcast, wolf, old rulers, young populations, mass plunder, rules of incredible fortunes, the house of gadhafi has billions of dollars, the house of new bar flack a poor country, 40% of the population live beneath the poverty line had enormous fortune and i think this rulers frighten their
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people. if you listen to what the syrians are saying what the syrians are saying, surprised the hell out of me, they rose against the regime. they say no more fear after today. so they have -- the populations of the arab world have found their courage against this heavily armed security states and this fight in libya is pivotal. the forces of change and the forces of freedom prevail and will they have the rest of the world beside them helping them along or will the ruler prevail and turn back this revolutionary upheaval? is it is really -- libya is not just about libya. libya is about this arab spring. >> very quickly, syria, i know you have studied this story. in the early '8, there was a rebellion, you will, we remember how they responded brutally, slaughtering people. will his son follow in his father's footsteps? >> a frightening prospect. i know we are of a generation we remember the name of city is hannah and the sometime 1982 and
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something like 15 to 20,000 syrians were killed by hafez sal less set. what the son will do we have no idea. but you can't turn off the light and kill people now as you could turn off the light a generation ago and get away with it. >> we will call you back, thanks so much for all your help. >> thank you. she is the first american reported to have been killed in japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami. just ahead, remembering the teacher who put her students' safety ahead of her own. and president obama getting ready to sit down for an exclusive interview with cnn in el salvador, just spoke to out about what is going on in libya. what the president had to say at a news conference. that's coming up next. ♪
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we all have a hand in it. because opportunity can start anywhere, and go everywhere. let's keep it moving. ♪ just moments ago, president obama was asked about the situation and said this -- >> it means that we have confidence that we are not going in alone. and it is our military that is being volunteered by others to carry out missions that are important not only to us but are important internationally. and we will accomplish that in a relatively short period of time. >> the u.s. will accomplish the mission in a relatively short
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period of time. he also went on to say he thinks they will be able to hand over responsibility, leadership within a matter of days, not weeks. the president upbeat about what's going on. we are also told he is going to cut short his visit to el salvador tomorrow to get back to washington to deal with this war that's unfolding in libya right now, also the other unrest. on air force one, he was speaking on the phone with the british prime minister about the situation in libya. while the president has been traveling in latin america, the backlash against the libyan operation has been growing on capitol hill. let's bring in our senior congressional correspondent, dana bash. what's the concern up on the had hill all about? >> wolf, yesterday, i reported to you about growing concern from both parties, the fact the president waged military action in libya without getting permission from congress first. today, we are hearing that that concern is not just about consultation but cost. just this one tomahawk missile
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fired at libyan defenses costs $1.4 million and so far, some 160 tomahawk missiles were launched, mostly by the u.s., adding up to $225 million. and that's just a slice of the no-fly zone expense to the american taxpayer. >> it gets down to how many naval ships have we got in the region? how many aircraft are flying off those ships? what additional military may be deployed to that theater? >> reporter: a leading estimate put the startup cost to military action between 400 and $800 million and the price of maintaining not fly zone, 30 to $100 million per week. fuel alone for each plane is $10,000 an hour. at a time went republican-controlled house is fighting to slash government spending, some say a no-fly zone in libya is not worth the price. >> cost is definitely going to be an issue.
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we are trying to find every penny we can squeeze out of the budget and then the president is going to go inject us into a civil war that is undoubtedly going to cost billions of dollars. >> reporter: for per officertive, look at some comparisons, house republicans voted to cut $2.8 million for nuclear waste disposal, the cost of two tomahawk missiles. republicans approved cutting $ 00 million from fema for emergency food and shelter. $100 million is precisely what the high-end estimate is to maintain the no-fly zone in libya each week what makes the cost of the operation in libya is so murky is uncertainty how long it will last. comment bined no fly zones over iraq cost an averaged of 1.3 billion year and lasted over a decade. and libya now, the no-fly zone covers twice the land mass. >> those of us fiscal hawks who are going to say, okay, mr. president, you want to be a war hawk, i'm gonna be a fiscal hawk.
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you are going to have to find out where to find those dollars somewhere else budget. we don't have anymore money to give you. >> reporter: the obama administration says it is not asking congress for anymore -- any more money yes. for now, they can fund military action in libya with existing funds, a spokesperson says but how long that will last, depends on unanswered question and that is how long the military operation in libya would last. >> my proposal, i don't know if anybody wants to listen to it i will say it, my proposal is there is $30 billion in libyan asset these the president of the united states has now frozen here in the united states. keep a running tab of how many hundreds of millions or maybe a few billion, whatever that cost and deduct that from the $30 billion in frozen libyan assets. this, after all is a mission designed to help the people of libya so it could be money well spent. they export a lott of oil, billions and billions of dollars, let's find a way for the libyan taxpayers to come up and pay for the liberation of their own country.
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that's just my proposal. call it the wolf proposal, if you want. >> i'm guessing that might have some legs up here, wolf. >> i think congress would like that proposal, too, and i think the american taxpayers would like that proposal. dafd if i may mite not like it you know what, that is another issue. >> not so much. jack cafferty is coming up next, i know he likes my proposal. stand by for more on that u.s. fighter jet also that went down over libya.
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getting right back to jack.
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he's got the cafferty file. jack? >> the question this hour is should president obama have consulted with congress before sending the u.s. military against libya? laura in california, if consulting was congress was constitutionally required in this matter, and there seems to be plenty of confusion as to whether or not it was, then yes. if not, no. members of congress criticized him for going too slowly. members of congress are currently criticizing him for going too fast. hindsight is the court of last resort. if the libyan war goes well, then he was right. and if it doesn't, he was wrong. mike in new hampshire, jack, he complied with the letter of the law regarding the war powers act. that being said, during the weeks that he schmoozed the arab league and the u.n., he could have been working the congress a little harder. tom in kansas city, missouri. there hasn't been a declaration of war since 1942. obama notified the leaders of congress on friday before any
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u.s. military action occurred. congress? we don't need no stinking congress. just follow the bush doctrine. make that the cheney doctrine. it worked for iraq. why not for libya, version 3.0? andy in vancouver, constitutionally, certainly. practically, nope, all these representatives that accused obama of dithering should realize they've been pushing the due date back for the nation for mons. cy writes is there a wrong way to do the right thing? our basis for action is much more solid and truthful than the sham that got us into iraq. the critics of this venture fall into two camps, those who oppose war under any circumstances and those who attack barack obama under any circumstances. and kevin writes, what suddenly makes congress so important anyway? what have they done for us lately? if you want to read more on the subject, go to cnn.com/caffer
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cnn.com/caffertyfile. i like the last one. >> they're all good. you know. they're all smart people. what do you think of my idea? >> let the libyans pay for the operation. >> we're wasting your talents here in "the situation room." you ought to be running the country. you should run for president. i'll vote for you. i want some cushy government job with my own plane if you get elected and we'll sort it out. >> just a little proposal. >> i think it's a hell of an idea. >> let's work on it. >> thank you, jack. new progress in a long and dangerous struggle to prevent catastrophe at japan's nuclear power plant. and we just heard. you saw it there. a defiant moammar gadhafi just a little while ago. we'll talk about what could happen in libya if the u.s. gets what it wants, namely, no more gadhafi in libya.
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♪ when it's planes in the sky ♪ ♪ for a chain of supply, that's logistics ♪ ♪ when the parts for the line ♪ ♪ come precisely on time ♪ that's logistics ♪ ♪ a continuous link, that is always in sync ♪ ♪ that's logistics ♪ ♪ there will be no more stress ♪ ♪ cause you've called ups, that's logistics ♪
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like the other stuff, diet snapple has healthy stuff. [ horn honks ] and tasty stuff. we just took out the calories and stuff. so who comes up with this stuff? i do. ooh! now who wants some free stuff? [ all ] me! snapple. the best diet stuff on earth. one hurdled clear late today at japan's crippled fukushima power plant. they have restored power to the number three reactor. that reactor has been a top priority in the race to prevent a possible meltdown.
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officials reveal two other reactors at the plant suffered more damage in the quake and tsunami than previously thought and will take more time to repair. the images of devastation are horrifying. now the first report of an american found dead, a young teacher. >> she was just 24 years old. she was in japan teaching english as part of the japan exchange and teaching program, also known as the jet program. today her friends and family are struggling with this news. taylor anderson loved the people of japan. she moved there shortly after graduating from randolph megan college near richmond, virginia, and had been teaching school children english for almost three careers. three years. >> she was infectious.
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>> always smiling. always smiling. very funny. always had something funny to say. >> she had passion. it was something i think she was born with. a passion for japanese culture. she studied it in college. >> when she found out she was going to japan, it was such a blessing for her. it was just her dream come true. >> when the earthquake rocked japan, taylor was teaching class in the coastal city. her fellow teacher said she stayed with her students until they were reunited with her parents. >> we talked about this a lot. she alms put people first. you can tell that with the japanese culture and even what she did out there the day of the earthquake she always cared about others more than herself. >> then she headed off on her bicycle toward her apartment. that's when the tsunami crashed onshore.
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in ishinomaki, the water was as high as 15 feet. taylor's parents waited to hear from her, turning their kitchen into a communication center. five days passed. >> a call came in this morning. >> japanese officials initially told the andersons taylor was alive. a day later authorities told them it was a mistake. five more days passed. ♪ how sweet the sound >> taylor's friends and family held vigil, and then the feared news from u.s. embassy officials. taylor's body had been found. her parents are now grieving in private. her friends, mourning an adventurous young woman who lost her life trying to make a difference in the world. >> she was a blessing to every person she met. >> she was. she was a hero. we might have lost her physically, but she'll live in on in everything that she did. she'll live on in us.
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she'll live on in our sorority. she'll always be with us. taylor was just a few months actually away from returning to america. she was set to return in june. her family issue ad statement. they thanked people for their support and they also asked them to continue to pray for all those who remain missing and for the people of japan. >> we will, brianna. thanks very, very much. you're in "the situation room." happening now, a u.s. air crew is rescued after an f-15 fighter jet crashes in libya. we'll take a closer look at how the dramatic event played out from the time the jet went down until the two americans made it to safety. and muammoammar gadhafi sti defiant, showing no signs of being shaken by the four days of air strikes. can he outlast the allied air campaign? defense secretary robert gates says this complicated risky mission was put together in his words, on the fly. that's a direct quote. on the fly.
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is he voicing doubts about the libya campaign? breaking news, political headlines and jeanne moos all straight ahead. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." they were heart stopping moments for the american military when a u.s. 15 striped eagle went down over libya. the pilot and weapons officer bailed out, were rescued and are now safely out of libya. the military says the jet crashed because of mechanical problems. a commander says moammar gadhafi's troops are keeping up their assault on civilians. and allied air forces have continued to hammer libyan targets. that includes a strike on a port area in tripoli that damaged several buildings. and joining us once again, nic robertson in tripoli. any indications, nick, based on what you can personally see that
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gadhafi has at all been shaken up by the air strikes? >> reporter: we don't get that impression here, wolf. we continue to be shown on tv, they continue to run the pictures of his loyalists coming to his main palace compound, dancing in support of him. waving green flags. i guess one of the ways to read the situation here is what we saw today when we drove down to the harbor facility to see the area. mobile rocket systems. along the sea front a lot of people were gathered to look at the harbor area, just coming casually to see what happened there. very few of these people were carrying or waving green flags or holding pictures of moammar gadhafi, as seems to happen wherever the government takes us. when people come on the streets here, they don't all walk around carrying green flags supporting gadhafi. in terms of leadership, no signs
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of a crack there. good indications for us that his sons are still in communication with the outside world. >> so i take it given the fear in tripoli, there's no signs of significant civil unrest. protesters marching on the street against gadhafi, as we've seen in other countries in north africa and the middle east. >> wolf, if we were to do that now, they would be in incredible danger. the regime is on a war footing right now. they wouldn't tolerate it. the regime loyalists here are all very heavily armed. every time there's a demonstration here and gadhafi's loyalists come out and shoot their guns in the air, this is a visual, psychological message for opposition supporters that the regime is ready to put you down.
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the opposition know they're not armed in the city. they know they have no physical way to stand up against the government right now, wolf. it will be unlikely to see them trying anything like street protests at the moment. >> forces loyal to gadhafi have taken a heavy pounding. so far there's no sign the libyan leader is weakening. joining us now is cnn's john king. operation odessey dawn has been in commission for four days. >> punishing strikes over the four days, but gadhafi remains in power, which poeszs this question for the coalition. let's play it out. the attacks started on saturday. some cruise missiles and air strikes. more on sunday. you see the stars. those are air strikes coming in. into monday. more cruise missiles.
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more pargting of ground forces. this time to the east. around misrata. more air strikes and more targeting of the ground here. four days in, wolf, four days of punishing attacks, and the coalition says gadhafi is still violating the terms of the u.n. resolution. he's still on the attack. he shows no signs of backing down. these are the anti-aircraft. he says he's done what he believes to be a fantastic job, wiping out especially the longer, 150 mile range secretary gates believing this has been significantly degraded. another is the libyan air base. this base over here near tripoli was used most often in attacking the opposition. gadhafi is still fighting on the ground and places like misrata is not.
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>> the fixed surface anti-aircraft missile batteries have been destroyed. but they have mobile air batteries. they also have the stinger. so u.s. fighter jets, french, british plays flying over libya, they're not necessarily out of the woods. >> they are not necessarily out of the woods which is why, number one, those remain the big targets. these planes are the planes in the air that could be at risk. you see the range of aircraft from france, from spain, from the united states. from great britain. they are all at risk. that's why they relied on these to take out as many as they can. that's a million dollars plus a piece for those that have to be replaced. but the scope of this, wolf is interesting. the risks are still there. look at all the air bases used
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so far by the coalition partners. the action continues here. but you make a key point. gadhafi is still in the fight. he still has some anti-aircraft weapons. he continues to attack on the ground. so the coalition faces a tough choice. do you keep it going? and you know, politically that's controversial within the coalition to try to decide to keep all the punishment going if the goal was to stop a attacks on civilians, how long do you go on? >> and i'm told one of the objectives in the pounding going on is to demoralize gadhafi's military and convince them, guys, it's over. lay down your arms. you're either going to be killed or arrested. >> without a doubt. they hope to convince them they can start to march west again. they hope to demoralize his forces. they're hoping the folks over here, we know the gadhafi
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opponents come out to the streets in the eastern part of the country. here where gadhafi has a tighter fist you have not seen the demonstrations. like we saw in tunisia and egypt and elsewhere. they also hope people will become more emboldened. four days in there's no sign of that. >> thanks very much, john. just a while ago during his visit to el salvador president obama spoke about the allied mission and the americans' role in it. >> with respect to our national interest, the american people and the united states have an interest first of all in making sure that where a brutal dictator is threatening his people and saying he will show no mercy and go door to door hunting people down and we have the capacity under international
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sanction to do to do something like that, it's in america's national interest to do something about it. when you have the united nations and also the arab league and also other countries in the gulf who are saying we need to intercede to make sure a disaster doesn't happen on our watch, as has happened in the past when the international community stood idly by. it is in america's national interest to participate in that. nobody has a bigger stake in making sure that the basic rules of the road are observed. that there is some symbolance of justice than does the united states of america. >> let's talk about this a
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little bit. is there any kind of end in sight? what's going on. let's bring in retired u.s. general james sparks. thanks very much for coming in. what's wrong with the u.s. staying in charge of the operation and not handing over the leadership to some european within a matter of days? why shouldn't the u.s. completely be in charge? >> i'm not sure the u.s. is really going to step away from a leadership role in this operation. >> the secretary of state and the secretary of defense they say within day, undefined how many, within days the u.s. will transfer leadership to someone else. >> when the u.s. applies military force it does not subordinate itself. the u.s. can retain a subordinate or secondary role. they will be very much a part of the mosaic or how this things
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come together. whether it's a brit or a french commander excuting the no-fly zone. we'll have collection assets. we'll have ships over the horizon available at a moment's notic notice. >> so even if they give some general the title of the leader of the campaign, you're saying for all practical purposes the u.s. will remain in charge. >> it will be part of a nato structure, absolutely. >> you're sure it's going to be a nato structure? some are not enthusiastic about this. turkey not happy. >> germany not happy about it. >> you're correct. so there will be a hybrid of how this is put together. it will be a cut out coalition of those who participate. >> it sounds like they'll try to divide some of the u.s. military
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responsibilities to nato. some to other european, some eu format. it sounds like it could be a mess. >> there will be unity of command for u.s. forces. so from our perspective, our young men and women that are applying force in this case will know for whom they work. >> how much of this operation is designed to convince gadhafi's military, his officers, it's over? give up before you die, or you're arrested. in other words, the psychological warfare part of this. we're already hearing from secretary of state clinton that she thinks some senior elements in the libyan military are beginning to see options educational where. >> i can't speak to classified information about what the siren guys are trying to do. but you have senior guy who is
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have already departed gadhafi's regime and are working for the opposition right now. they raised their hands and said we want to be a part of the future. gadhafi's arm may die as a result of the no-fly zone, odyssey dawn. but the opposition knows they cannot reintegrate if gadhafi remains. the u.s. military will make sure he's gone. >> the u.s. military when given directives will make sure and can make sure he's gone. >> right now the military is saying that's not their objective. >> it's not been gi dpen to them. >> how can the president of the united states say our policy, u.s. policy is to make sure there's no gadhafi leading libya, but you're saying the military hasn't been told that?
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>> if you take the words from the president, i must disagree. the policy doesn't square with what's happening on the ground and in the air right now. you could end up with a divided libya with gadhafi still in charge. >> that would be a setback for the president of the united states. >> totally unacceptable. but that's not the objective as established by the u.n. and by what the military is doing. >> thanks very much. there are also covert operations, not what the u.s. military is authorized to do, but others in the government. >> you have to assume that. >> thanks very much. we have a lot more to discuss on this. the crash of the u.s. fighter jet in libya. we'll hear from a rebel who helped get a crew member to safety. fresh unrest across the region, including in egypt where a symbol of the old regime went up in flames today. and a critical step forward in japan's nuclear crisis. we'll go live to tokyo for the
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latest. [ male announcer ] opportunity is a powerful force. set it in motion... and it goes out into the world like fuel for the economy. one opportunity leading to another... and another. we all have a hand in it. because opportunity can start anywhere, and go everywhere. let's keep it moving. ♪
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photographs. the armed forces of the united states is arguably the greatest fighting force ever assembled. more importantly, it traditionally has been used to only in the noblist of causes. the most recent example is libya. president obama ordered our military to assist in protecting innocent civilians from being slaughtered. sometimes it only takes the actions of a few to call the reputation of a whole into question. here's the part i warned you about. over the weekend the german newspaper der spiegel published photographs of two u.s. soldiers in afghanistan standing over the bodies of dead afghan civilians in what is described as trophy like poses. just disgusting. one of the soldiers, army specialist morlock is being court-martialed for the murder of three afghan civilians. he'll plead guilty tomorrow in hopes of getting a lighter sentence.
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he's also agreed to testify against others. in all, 12 soldiers were charged with offenses related to the murder of afghans last year. the army release ad statement apologizing for the actions of those soldiers, saying the photos appear in contrast to the discipline, professionalism and are the that have characterized our soldiers' performance during ten years of sustainability. u.s. soldiers took pictures of each other torturing iraqi pictures wlchl the lengths and the numbers of deployments and combat theaters of our military, which has been stretched to the breaking point ultimately contribute to these kinds of things, that's a debate for another day. does the latest army photo scandal change your view of the u.s. military? go to cnn.com/caffertyfile. >> certainly is an embarrassment. jack cafferty with the cafferty
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file. let's take a closer look at the anxious hours for the u.s. military after an american f-15 strike eagle went down in libya. the pilot and weapons officers both bailed out. they're now safely out of pentagon. chris lawrence is putting together a time line for the heart stopping events. >> libyan state tv says the plane was shot down. the military says it was a malfunction. in either case it shows no fly definitely does not mean no risk. two fighter jets take off from italy on a strike run. but as they fly over libya, one of the f-15s malfunctions. >> once you can no longer fly the jet and you've tried every procedure in your book, it's time to jump out. >> the two-man crew ejects and the plane crashes. the parachute is open, but they
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land in different areas. >> once you hit the ground, your procedures are first of all to make sure you're okay if you're in a two-seat cockpit u look for your crew member. >> out in the mediterranean sea, the 26 marine expedition nar unit mobilizes on board the the uss kearsarge. and the president in chile gets word of the crash. >> part of your survival gear on board includes a radio. so you have the communications available to talk to folks and hopefully conduct a rescue. >> reporter: the marines scrambled jets. the down pilot sees local villagers advancing, doesn't know if they're friend or foe and radios for help. they drop two bombs, a nonlethal
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way to ward them off. the pilot is table to get on board. meantime, the second crew member who fell in a different area is recovered by rebels who oppose gadhafi. they take him to a local official, the one man they know who speaks english. >> he was afraid. i am talking with him. i kiss him. i tell him, you are coming for us. you are our brothers. so don't be afraid. you will be safe. >> the weapons officer was safely taken out of libya to europe. >> he was treated with dignity and respect in the care of the united states. >> just for a second, lits go back to the pilot. remember, he has the villagers advancing on him, doesn't know if friend or foe, so the military drops the bombs in the area. we're told whatever their intent was, the shrapnel did manage to
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injure some of the villagers. several of them had to be take on the the hospital. wolf? >> chris lawrence with the latest on that. chris, thanks very much. the two pilots out of libya right now. gadhafi has been virtually invisible since the heavy bombing started four days ago, but no longer. just a while ago he spoke out. he was seen on libyan television. he's not backing down. he says he will win. and new developments in the race to prevent a nuclear meltdown in japan. power is reed in the control room. host: could switching to geico really save you
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the libyan leader moammar gadhafi showed up on state television, just a little while ago, voicing defiance. listen to this. >> we will be victorious in this fight. we will not give up. >> translator: they will not terrorize us. we are making some other rockets. the libyans have these rockets. we will defeat them. in any way, by any method. in the short term or in long term, we'll defeat them. we are prepared to fight whether short or long. and i tell you, i do not care,
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nothing scares me. nothing can scare me. i don't get scared by the americans. not even by the president sending rockets. i am resilient. i am here. i am here. >> gadhafi speaking just homes ago. the president of the united states spoke moments ago as well. when we come back, you'll hear from president obama. escape definition. ♪ escape compromise. ♪ introducing the most fuel-efficient luxury car available. the radically new... 42 mile per gallon ct hybrid from lexus. ♪ welcome to the darker side of green. ♪
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president obama has just spoken out specifically about what's going on in the war in libya. only moments ago he spoke to reporters in el salvador. here's what he had to say. >> the military action that we moved forward on in conjunction with our national partners was defined by the u.n. security council resolution that said we
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have a humanitarian threat, and we need to deal with that humanitarian threat quickly. in part through a no-fly zone. in part by ensuring that humanitarian assistance can get into the places that need it. and we have created the space for that to happen. i think fairly shortly we are going to be able to say that we've achieved the objective of a no-fly zone. we will also be able to say that we have averted immediate tragedy. now you are absolutely right that as long as gad fe remains in power, unless he changes his approach and and provides the libyan people an opportunity to express themselves free ly and there are significant reforms in the government there will still
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be potential threats towards the libyan people. and we will continue to support the efforts to protect the libyan people. but we will not be in the lead. that's what the transition that i discussed has always been designed to do. we have unique capabilities. we came in up front fairly heavily, fairly substantially. and at considerable risk to our military personnel. and when this transition takes place, it is not going to be our planes that are maintaining the no-fly zone. it is not going to be our ships that are necessarily involved in enforcing the arms embargo. that's precisely what the other coalition partners are going to do, and that's why building this international coalition has been so important. it means the united states is not bearing all the costs. it means that we have confidence that we are not going in alone,
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and it is our military that is being volunteered by others to carry out missions that are important not only to us, but are important internationally. and we will accomplish that in a relatively short period of time. >> let's talk about what we just heard from the president of the united states, gloria borger, our senior political analyst is here. you wrote a piece on cnn.com, gloria, and you suggest there's something unsettling about this military operation. in libya. what's unsettling? >> well, i think first of all war is obviously unsettling, wolf. but even people who believe, as i did,that the president did the right thing in forming a coalition, what's clear now is we have to live with an awful lot of ambiguity here. in order for the president to get this coalition he had to agree to kind of a humanitarian
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project in libya where as the united states' own stated goals are to get rid of gadhafi. people in congress want to know what's your goal? what's your end game? what's the timetable? and when you're part of this group, whether with the arab league or u.n. security council, you often don't answer those questions. so we're in a whole new world that is unsettling for lots of us who lived through history in which america takes the lead, sets the timetable and says this is how we'll behave. i doesn't work that way. >> david gergen is joining us as well. robert gates spoke out about the mission today. he said something that struck a ner nerve. at least with me. i'm going to play it, and then we'll discuss. >> this command and control business is complicated.
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we vice preside we haven't done something like this on the fly before. and so it's not surprising to me that it would today take a few days to get it all sorted out. >> he says this was done on the fly. the pentagon normally has con tin general she plans for everything. when you heard that, what went through your mind? >> he spoke a truth in public that was inconvenient, but helpful to hear. it's been clear it's improvisational. it's accounted for sometimes the tortured way we've arrived at these policies, the kind of rifts we've seen among other nations we're trying to hand this off to. and there seems to be evidence that the rifts pay be healing. the president tried to make the right decisions. but there's so much ambiguity
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that it's imperative when he returns for latin america he sit down with his advisers and figure out what the chess board looks like in the middle east, figures out where he's going to go and then talks to the country. >> he's got to address the nation from the oval office. >> he does. >> he's got to look into the camera and explain why he's decided to put young men and women into battle, into harm's way. and explain the difference between the limited u.n. objectives and the much broader u.s. objective, which is regime change, getting rid of gadhafi. >> and the question is how to achieve one without the other, right? if gadhafi is murdering his own people, how can you declare humanitarian mission a success if gadhafi still remains? i think this is a two-pronged theme. the first stage is the humanitarian position.
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then the second is what the president's advisers have called the tightening the noose stage, where you hope you so isolate gadhafi that people defect, and that eventually the rebels can win or knock them off one way or another. >> there's an in between here, wolf, as we all understand. as the no-fly zone is erected and the rebels go on the offensive, are we going to help them or not? when do we step in? when do we not? it's all very murky. general hamm said no, we're not going to help them. hillary clinton said a couple of days ago, of course we should help them. is the navy going to stay in place once we hand this over? . we don't know the answers to the questions. by the way, who are the rebels? which rebels will we help? which rebels will we not help? there may be good rebels and bad rebels. >> they're all rebels right now, gloria. >> that's right. but affiliations with al qaeda,
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et cetera. so we have to figure out if we're going to arm rebels or give rebels money or give rebels intelligence. who are we dealing with here? >> whoever the rebels are, the u.s. will help them one way or another. i suspect a lot of covert operations will be helping those rebels because the ultimate u.s. objective right now, and the president repeated it once again. today we just heard him, gadhafi must go. that's the u.s. objective. i suspect the president of the united states will accept nothing short of that. gloria, david, thank you. >> a new development at the stricken power plant in japan today. we're going live to tokyo for the latest. and the mission in libya is under fire over its own name. jeanne moos has that part of the story.   
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>> in japan, a critical step forward in efforts to avoid a meltdown at the stricken nuclear power plant. power has been restored to the control room on one of the reactors. gary tuchman is joining us live from tokyo. what's the latest, gary? i understand there have been some aftershocks you just fell.
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felt. >> reporter: i'm sorry, wolf. three aftershocks in the last 20 minutes, including two in the last five minutes. that's disconcerting here for the people in japan: you talk about the nuclear plant now, the battle to contain the damage has really become a real life scary soap opera. the theme seems to be one step back and two steps forward. one of the steps forward, yes, power has been restored to the number three reactor. once you get the air-conditioning back on, that is very important. there are plume ls of white smoke from the reactors. there is far less white smoke there today. it's not clear why the smoke is there to begin with us, but the fact that there's less is good. the negative news is officials with the power company say the damage to reactors number one and number two is more severe than originally thought. there is radioactivity in the atmosphere, including in the
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pacific ocean. we should tell you here in japan there is no mandatory evacuation order in effect for the u.s. military or their families. just today more alone, more than 1,800 family members got on seven airplanes to leave the nation of japan. >> which raises the question, what about you, gary? how do you feel about the evacuation? you've been there almost the entire time. you were one of the first reporters to get there. >> right, right. we got here the day after. like 24 hours after. and today is my first day in tokyo, wolf. 're glad we're here covering its. there are tens of millions of japanese people who can't go anywhere. we want to be there with them. you're talking about 22,000 dead and missing. 9,000 confirmed dead. more than 13,000 missing. of the 13,000, missing pretty
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much is a yeuphemism for dead. most of them will parish. that is what is so sad. >> you're doing a brilliant job. we appreciate your hard work. the interior ministry in cairo went up in flames today as police officers protested on the streets below. our own ivan watson sent in a report from the scene. standby. and the military calls this air mission operation odyssey dawn. ooh, a brainteaser. how can expedia now save me even more on my hotel? well, hotels know they can't fill every room every day. like this one. and this one. and oops, my bad. so, they give expedia ginormous discounts with these: unpublished rates. which means i get an even more rockin' hotel, for less. my brain didn't even break a sweat. where you book matters. expedia.
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clouds of smoke rose over cairo as a symbol of egypt's old regime went up in flames. it happened after an angry but peaceful protest by police officers. cnn's ivan watson takes us to the scene. >> reporter: this is the interior ministry, what has long been the headquarters of the police state that has helped keep egypt under control until revolution transformed everything in this country. moments ago, this building was in flames. a pillar of smoke that rose over downtown cairo and collapsed parts of the building. in the last few minutes we've seen military police on the ground arresting some people. also rushing away one man in an ambulance. this fire erupted within hours of a large, peaceful protest in
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front of the very same walls where thousands of police officers, some of them in civilian clothes, many of them in uniforms were demonstrating peacefully, demanding higher wages. some say they get paid the equivalent of $80 a month doing this job. the police were a symbol of hatred during the revolution because often they were used to break up peaceful protests. this is not the first time we've seen a disturbance like this here at the interior ministry. on february 23rd, after another demonstration by interior ministry workers, parts of the building were set on fire and put out. we do not know what the cause of this blaze was. ivan watson, cnn, cairo. >> yemen's embattled leader clinging to power after three decades in office has offered to step down. but only next year. the opposition rejects the bid demanding that saleh resign
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immediately. he is warning of a civil war after a number of the top generals and officials declared support for the opposition. protester remain in force on the streets of the capital following last week's crackdown. the cafferty file is coming up next. then, critics are panning the name of the military operation in libya. jeanne moos will show us why they're making fun of odyssey dawn. i can't get rid of these weeds, or these nasal allergies. i know what works differently than many other allergy medications. omnaris.
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jack has the countdown. >> does the latest army photo scandal change your view of the u.s. military? teresa writes --
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>> peg in new york writes -- >> gordon in new jersey -- >> and paulina writes from chicago --
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>> you want to read more on the subject, go to my blog. >> you'll be happy to know, jack, a lot of my twitter followers loved my idea of using the frozen libyan assets, $30 billion, to help pay for the u.s. -- the coalition operation to free libya. they like that idea. >> well, the point you made earlier, if the libyans want to be free, then libyan tax money ought to be used to buy the freedom. i think it's a terrific idea. but you and i aren't going to -- you should promote it someplace where maybe there's a chance of having somebody who matters listens to it. i don't count. >> we just said it on the air so they're watching us all the time. >> okay. >> the latest on the libyan crisis coming up at the top of the hour on "john king usa." and why are so many people making fun of operation odyssey dawn? ut a man by looking at his keys. ♪ these here?
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>> odyssey dawn? you really name a combat operation after a yes album? >> reporter: no, there's not a yes album called odyssey dawn. it's a joke. >> odyssey dawn. i believe it's the first military operation named for a stripper. >> reporter: you probably never met a stripper named desert storm. humanitarian missions tend to have inspiring names like operation restore hope or provide comfort. so what's with odyssey dawn? >> it was absolutely random. >> reporter: u.s. africa command says they were given three sets of words beginning with certain letters to choose from. odyssey dawn does not mean anything, really. >> no, not at all. you know, there was maybe about 50 words that they looked over. and so they chose just at random the word odyssey. and then someone threw out the idea of, you know, maybe dawn being the second word. >> reporter: some humorists can't stop at just one odyssey dawn joke.
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andy borowitz put out tweet after tweet. "pentagon says they went with operation odyssey dawn because their first choice, spider-man, turn off the dark, was taken." he even started taking nominations for bert names. folks suggested titles like operation ndurring instability. but our favorite suggested from andy, operation rick wid dawn. winston churchill once objected to the words soap suds for an american bombing raid. he thought it was inappropriate for an operation in which men might lose their lives. the name was changed to tidal wave. as for those in the media asking viewers for titles better than odyssey dawn -- >> how hard can it be? >> reporter: andy borowitz is suggesting operation dawn go away i'm no good for you. the four seasons might be over moammar gadhafi's head. jeanne moos, cnn, new york.

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